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Purdue Black Caucus holds awards ceremony Spring 2009
The 34th Annual Awards Program presented by the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff was held April 18, 2009 in the Purdue Memorial Unions North Ball Room. Click the link below to see photos of the event.

Black Caucus awards pictures
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Purdue Black Caucus holds awards ceremony Spring 2008

Purdue's African American students awarded for achievement

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.-  The Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff presented academic and service awards to more than 200 students.  After hitting the books all year, Purdue University students of color received recognition for their hard work.  Senior Carlos Banks received an Academic and Service and Leadership Award. 

"It's really good to get an idea of what the University appreciates from things that you've done here at the University.  Being a minority student, it's also good to be able to network with other minorities and see people who are being successful here at the school," said Carlos Banks, Purdue Senior.

"It's good to know that all your hard work is paying off.  A lot of studying goes into each class. And you have to have good grades to get into your school," said Kayla Berger, Purdue Freshman.

Event Chair Venetria Patton said it's important to recognize minority students at Purdue.

"At a predominantly white institution sometimes students are in a situation where they might be the only face of color in their class.  This gives them a place where they can come together and they can see other students that look like them," said Venetria Patton, Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff Chair.

Several students plan to use this celebration as a stepping stool towards something new. Senior Nicole Ligon was awarded the Clara E. Bell award for her high Grade Point Average and community service.  She plans to start working as a nurse after graduation.

"I actually accepted a position at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis on the pediatrics intensive care unit," said Nicole Ligon, Purdue Senior.

"I'm actually going to be moving to New York to work at Goldman Sachs, which is excellent.  It's kind of my dream job, said Banks.

"Just looking forward to another year in the school of nursing," said Berger.

Ligon said she has encouraged underclassmen in her field.

"I'm so proud that people before me that were African American students, I've seen them go through the program just as excited.  I see Freshmen and Sophomores and I try to help them and keep them encouraged and let them know that they too will graduate," said Ligon.

Students weren't the only ones being recognized.  Purdue's Black Cultural Center received the Department of the Year award and one student nominated his mother for Parent of the Year.

"Report by Renetta DuBose, WLFI."

 

 

African American Students Awards Spring 2005

By Kevin Cullen
Rachel Myers is a rare bird: she's smart, she's African-American, and she's earning a degree in construction engineering and management, an area traditionally dominated by white men.

When she enters the job market in 2007, that combination "can definitely be an advantage," she says.

Myers, a junior from Cleveland, was among approximately 160 African-American undergraduates who received awards for academic excellence and leadership Saturday at Purdue University. Myers got one of each.

The 31st annual awards program was sponsored by the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty & Staff.

The luncheon in the Purdue Memorial Union's North Ballroom, included students, their families, faculty and staff.

"This room is filled with agents of hope," said Carolyn Johnson, senior research associate in the African-American Studies & Research Center at Purdue.

Provost Sally Mason praised the students for their hard work and involvement.

"Purdue is not designed to be easy. It is designed to be very difficult, to stretch your abilities," she said. "This is proof that you can go very, very far indeed."

She praised the students for their role in helping Purdue reflect the world at large.

"We know our students will work in an increasingly globalized world," Mason said. " ... Diversity on campus prepares students for the future and promotes understanding."

Zachary Powell, a sophomore in management from Terre Haute, received an academic award. He hopes to work in finance.

He said he believes Purdue will prepare him better for his career than would an all-black university.

"It's having different kinds of people here," he said. "That's what the real world will be like."

The keynote speaker was Professor Kofi Kondwani, a psychologist in the department of health and preventive medicine in the Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta.

He urged students to look beyond their academic pursuits. Through quiet reflection and introspection, he said, they can discover their true path in life.

"Plan your career for something that doesn't exist yet," he said. "Just see what you want, and do it."

"We have to be quiet and listen to what's going on inside," he said. "That's where the motivation comes from. Listen to that quiet voice inside you. You can't hear it if you're surrounded by noise and stuff and problems and stress."

"When you want to create, invent, and get work done," Kondwani said, "you want silence. Make it part of your existence."

When choosing one's life work, he told the honorees, "choose something that's big, something that will help people all over the world, something that will make you happy."

Black college students today are "beyond affirmative action," he said in an interview. "They have gotten there on merit, but because of their special history, they still need guidance and support. They may be one generation removed from poverty."

He praised Purdue's Black Caucus for providing such support, and "making them feel less alienated and more welcome."

It's an exciting time to be a black college graduate, Kondwani said. Thanks to the Internet, "you can now do business and no one knows what race you are or what you look like. There will be a lot more (businesses) like that in the future. That makes the playing field more even."

Achievement awards
These special awards were given Saturday by the Black Caucus of Faculty & Staff at Purdue. Highest grade-point average in each class: freshman, Roshan Bliss; sophomore, Scott McCarthy, Walter Williams; junior, Joshiawa Paulk; senior, Samantha Sanders. Service and leadership awards: Brittni Allen, Ariel Knight, Rachel Myers, Carmen Rhodes, Stephen Richardson, Garet Turner, Stephanie Watson, Stephon Watson, John Wright, Jr. Clara E. Bell Award: Erika Trachelle Barnett.

Kofi A. Kondwani, psychologist in the department of community health and preventive medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, gave the keynote address during the Black Caucus Awards Program at the Purdue Memorial Union in West Lafayette.

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